Updated March 19, 2021
As you read this, know that our hearts go out to you and your loved ones during this unusual and difficult time.
Losing someone dear to us is among the most emotionally charged moments of a person’s life experiences. In this actual context of pandemic, the grieving process is even more complex and difficult to live through because of the necessary restrictions that are being imposed on families. Families find themselves alone, isolated, missing the support of their community, sometimes postponing religious and celebration of life gatherings.
Here is what you need to know regarding the services we are allowed to offer during this period of confinement:
- The Public Health Department and the Ministry of Health and Social Services have confirmed that currently funeral rituals can take place in funeral homes, churches, cemeteries and crematoriums, as they are recognized as essential services.
- Because of the recent changes in the epidemiological situation, all of Québec, except the Cree Territory of James Bay and Nunavik, will be on Maximum Alert (red zone) from January 9 up to and including February 8, 2021. Montreal remains a red zone as we publish this post. https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/health-issues/a-z/2019-coronavirus/confinement-in-quebec/
- A maximum of 25 people without rotation (excluding staff and volunteers) can participate to a gathering or funeral service, indoor or outdoor. Social distancing must be applied: 1.5m when seated with limited talking and 2 m when in movement or talking.
- Because of the curfew from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., funeral gatherings will have to end at 8:30 p.m. to allow visitors and funeral staff to reach their home by 9:30 p.m.
- If a death occurs during curfew hours at home or in facilities without a cold room, the funeral staff will able be able to bring your loved one into our care as this procedure is permitted and exempt from the curfew.
- Since July 18, masks are required while circulation in enclosed environments. Since October 1, 2020, it is mandatory to keep your masks on at all times, indoor or outdoor for funeral related gatherings.
- For deceased persons who have died without COVID-19, all rituals are permitted for family and guests.
- At the moment, the instructions received from the Department of Public Health for a person who died from COVID-19, confirmed or potential, to the funeral professionals are that washing, disinfecting, embalming, dressing, cosmetizing and hairdressing are prohibited.
- If the condition of the deceased person is appropriate, an exposition with an open casket is possible for identification purposes for the immediate family for a period of up to 30 minutes within 48 hours following the death. Physical contact with the deceased person is not permitted, We have taken care to ensure all measures are in place for your safety.
- The deceased person can be laid out, closed casket, in our funeral home or in churches that authorize visitation, for maximum 3 hours as soon as possible following the death. This period can be followed by the burial in a cemetery or cremation.
- It is possible to have a service or perform other rituals in our funeral home, in some churches or at the cemetery.
- It is prohibited to open the casket to the public, since embalming and other decedent care procedures are proscribed.
- Bio-cremation (aquamation) and crypt entombment are prohibited.
- Cremation and ground burial are permitted.
- Gatherings can be planned for current events or those at a later date.
- We have to impose the ban of access from visitors who have travelled, those who have symptoms, are in isolation, or have been in close contact with a Covid-19 carrier or patient.
- We are serving one family at a time. Preventative instructions are implemented at our funeral facilities. We ask visitors to wash their hands upon arrival and departure. Our facilities are constantly being disinfected to limit the propagation of the disease.
- Most cemeteries are imposing a limit of people at the gravesite, including the funeral director, pallbearers, clergy and family members. For indoor crypt and niche burial, the access is limited as well. Every cemetery has their own restrictions and protocols. Pallbearers must wear masks and gloves. Masks are mandatory for indoor mausoleum and columbarium.
- The witness of the initial cremation process is allowed based on the crematorium availability.
- Church funeral services are permitted since the end of June 2020. Each church will reopen at their own speed. Protocols vary from church to church. Most community halls remain closed. Since October 1, 2020, a limit of 25 people can participate to a church funeral service.
- Food and alcoholic beverage services are not available since October 1, 2020.
- Limousine service is available for up to 6 passengers. A plexiglass has been installed in the limousine to maintain the social distancing with the driver. Masks are mandatory for passengers coming from different household. The limousines are disinfected after each use.
- We can film or record rituals to make available for those who cannot attend the gathering. Music, special readings, sharing stories remain possible to bring us closure even when distancing is required.
- We are available to meet you in person by appointment only with up to 3 family members. We also encourage funeral planning at the time of death or in pre-planning to be done by teleconference or by telephone.
- In order to prevent contamination of our staff members and other clients, we impose teleconference or telephone meeting for people who have travelled, have flu symptoms or who have been in contact with a COVID-19 person diagnosed or waiting for results or showing signs of infection.
For us, funeral professionals, this situation is difficult as we want to assist you and allow you to grieve appropriately regardless of all the constraints imposed upon all of us. We are doing everything in our power to stay healthy in order to be able to take care of you and your loved ones. We also want to make sure you will stay healthy and that you don’t put yourself at risk.
We continue our mission of service and to serve our clientele with kindness and compassion. We’re here, for you, during this difficult time as we walk with you on your journey.
The following is an article published in Le Soleil de Québec by one of the ambassadors of the funeral service industry of Quebec.
For more information and updates from the Public Health Department:
COVID-19: Mesures de prévention et de protection pour les entreprises de services funéraires (INSPQ_2020-03-24) https://www.inspq.qc.ca/publications/2913-mesures-services-funeraires-covid19
For more information and updates regarding gatherings and regulations pertaining to food and beverages services